UNIGIS was invited to contribute to the GeoSmart Asia 2015 (GSA) conference held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from September 29th to October 1st, 2015 and to co-organise the 'Geospatial Youth Forum' bringing academia, industry, organisations and students onto a common platform for promoting career-oriented one-on-one interaction. GSA is one of the largest regional conferences focussed on geospatial themes in S/E Asia and is being organised in different countries across the region. UNIGIS has been entrusted with a prominent role of conducting Geospatial Capacity Building sessions at the event since 2005 and this was the 11th such continuous session coordinated by UNIGIS at this international event.
Dr. Shahnawaz (Director, UNIGIS S/E Asia) gave framework presentation and moderated the forum involving about 100 participants from China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The first session was designed for a panel discussion involving geospatial experts, followed by a competitive session of student presentations.
Four distinguished panelists i.e. Prof. Nitin K Tripathi (Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand), Prof. Madya Dr. Alias Sood (University Putra Malaysia, Selangor), Dr. Lam Kuok-Choy (National University of Malaysia, Bangi) and Mr. John Whitehead (Sales Director, Asia-Pacific, Trimble, Singapore) exchanged their experiences and visions about geospatial education, business and careers in the emerging ASEAN Economic Community.
The last session triggered a critical open-floor discussion among experts, professionals and students focussed on the status of geospatial education and geospatial career opportunities in the forthcoming ASEAN Economic Community.
The forum attendees largely expressed that there is a need of re-structuring geospatial education in the region as well as to introduce alternative modes of delivery for various target groups. Most of the in-service professional participants expressed that it is high time to launch short-cycle programmes for professionals not necessarily leading to academic degree qualifications.
The jury conferred the ‘Best Student Paper’ award on Ms. Nur Hakimah Asnawi from National University of Malaysia, Bangi who presented her paper on 'Landuse Landcover Changes in Gombak, Selangor - 1989-2014'.